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So what do you do when you meet an online scammer? Penang artist Queen Lee turned it into art

Queen Lee working on her watercolour painting. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee

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GEORGE TOWN, July 31 — Frequent lockdowns and extended bouts of isolation because of the Covid-19 pandemic have led to many of us living (and working) online. And this includes dating.

Penang artist Queen Lee tried online dating last year for the first time and though she got to “meet” more people, she also came across some scammers.

She said the online interactions would start out innocently and some even sound genuine in the beginning.

“Then they will start asking me to send money for Customs because they sent me a gift or ask me to send money to help them so I know immediately that these are scammers and not genuine,” she said.

A painting of one of the scammers titled ‘Junk’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee
A painting of one of the scammers titled ‘Junk’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee

Though she was disappointed and even angry, she decided to use the experience for her artworks.

“I began collecting their information and then I used it to create my artworks as a showcase of my experience in online dating,” she said.

Another scammer in an artwork titled ‘William’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee
Another scammer in an artwork titled ‘William’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee

She collected information from about 10 of them, things such as their favourite colours and flowers. She then created mixed-media artworks and paintings using this information.

Her exhibition titled “Looking For Meaningful Connection” was initially scheduled for June this year but it has been postponed till next year due to the movement control order (MCO) restrictions.

An embroidery artwork titled ‘My Way Home’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee
An embroidery artwork titled ‘My Way Home’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee

Lee has prepared paintings, embroidery and mixed-media artworks for the exhibition that showcases three parts of her life; one on her childhood and where she grew up in Tanjung Bungah, one on her relationship with her father and the third, her experiences with online dating and the 10 scammers.

Like many in the creative industry, Lee has been badly affected by the pandemic. She used to run the Chai Diam Ma arts and crafts shop at Hin Bus Depot but had to close it in July last year.

An artwork titled ‘Lock down no2’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee
An artwork titled ‘Lock down no2’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee

She said 90 per cent of her sales was from visitors to Hin Bus Depot so when the number of visitors dropped drastically, she decided to close the shop.

After that, she helped a friend in her business by linking her to local crafters and artisans and also helped with the Hin Bus Depot weekend bazaars.

“I also used the time to prepare for my solo exhibition,” she said.

An embroidery artwork titled ‘You Leave Us Day 6’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee
An embroidery artwork titled ‘You Leave Us Day 6’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee

She also took part in George Town Festival’s “3X3” stay-at-home art residency and group exhibition this year.

Lee said it was fortunate she was paid for the project as this year has been quite a struggle so far.

She said she is also open to commissioned work. Her artworks are also available on her Instagram: @leequeen.kingdom.

Queen Lee’s impression of the ikan longkang of her childhood titled ‘Flow No3’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee
Queen Lee’s impression of the ikan longkang of her childhood titled ‘Flow No3’. — Picture courtesy of Queen Lee

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